Stuart DeVan

Born September 30, 1980, New York, New York.

Graduated Choate Rosemary Hall 1999

Graduated Bucknell University 2003 with honors in International Relations and a minor in Spanish.  Honors thesis: Neoliberalism in Latin America: A New Regionalism in South America.  The Case of Mercosur.

Prior to Peace Corps service in Ecuador Stuart was employed by the Manhatten based executive search and consulting firm BerglassGrayson (now the Grayson Company) as a consultant where he worked in Due Diligence for target acquisitions by private equity firms.

Upon his acceptance to Peace Corps Ecuador in February 2006 Stuart was posted to service in the Community of Susudel, Canton Oña, Azuay Province.  Susudel is located in a high desert climate two hours south of the city of Cuenca and is in a rain shadow of the western flanks of the Andes.  Because of the lack of water in the community, which would otherwise be a farming paradise, he has spent his two years supporting and distributing small-scale drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.  A variety of crops are grown and are supported by the irrigation systems but the focus has been on the cultivation of blackberries.

In addition, Stuart has maintained a 2 year relationship with the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) who have been collaborating with the community to construct a new 15km canal system from a nearby river that would completely alter the community’s access to water.  The EWB’s have recently completed an 80 page engineering/feasibility report detailing all aspects of the project.  Currently, Stuart and the EWB’s are coordinating a trip for a group of engineers to come to Susudel for three weeks to review and finalize all data contained within the report and to sign a partnership agreement between the EWB’s and Susudel.

Apart from his agricultural work Stuart has worked with the women’s group of the community in supporting a community bank and lending institution and he also teaches English in two high schools to 175 students.  One of the high schools is a rural extension high school that meets each weekend and was established by the national government to offer a high school education to adolescents and adults who live to rurally to have access to a high school on a weekly basis.  The other is a nocturnal high school was founded this past September by community members and is the first high school in Susudel.  Stuart was involved in the founding and has supported the high school since its inception in the role of professor.  Stuart has also been active in women’s education where he has solicited and won 5 high school scholarships for outstanding female students who otherwise would not have had the economic means to complete their high school educations.

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